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Woodridge nurse swims to raise money for patients

Published: Friday, July 5, 2013 10:07 a.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, July 8, 2013 4:38 p.m. CDT
(Matthew Piechalak)
Patty Piasecki, of Woodridge, poses for a portrait in her backyard on Friday, June 28. Piasecki, an RN with Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush Medical Center, will race in the Swim Across America event July 20 in Chicago to raise money for cancer research. Matthew Piechalak – mpiechalak@shawmedia.com

WOODRIDGE – Although she didn’t learn to swim until she was in college, Woodridge’s Patti Piasecki said she participates in Swim Across America’s Cancer Swim for the cause.

“It’s kind of laughable,” said Piasecki, who plans to swim a half-mile at this year’s event. “I like being in the water, but I’m not a swimmer. I’m big on raising a lot of money and stimulation for the event.”

Swim Across America, a national nonprofit organization, is hosting its 20th annual Chicago Cancer Swim on July 20 at Ohio Street Beach. The swim raises money for Rush University Cancer Center, which supports the clinical, educational and research programs at Rush University Medical Center.

Piasecki, a registered nurse with Midwest Orthopedics at Rush, said she also works with oncology, providing care for cancer patients.

“I want to participate in an activity that would benefit my patients,” Piasecki said. “In our business, swimming is one of the activities we encourage patients to be in.”

SAA set a goal of raising $400,000 for Chicago’s 2013 Cancer Swim after last year’s event raised $315,000.

The noncompetitive race is an unbelievable experience, said Piasecki, whose first time was in 2012.

“It was very amazing to watch it, both because of what we were doing and because of the swim,” Piasecki said. “It had so many people from different places: patients, health care providers, children, adults, the sick and nonsick, and all for the same purpose.”

Swimmers are required to raise a minimum of $500 and then must choose to swim in the half-mile, 1-mile, 1.5-mile or 3-mile course. Piasecki said her team, Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush/Rush Cancer Center Team, has 15 members, but it hopes for about 10 more.

“One of the most memorable moments is when you’re at the event and you see the survivors swimming,” Piasecki said. “That’s why we’re there, and they believe in it.” 

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